Tasked to strengthen the party, newly-appointed Delhi BJP President Satish Upadhyay on Sunday said a final decision on whether to attempt a shot at government formation or seek fresh mandate in the capital will be taken “soon” after eliciting the opinion of MLAs, MPs and senior leaders.
52-year-old Upadhyay, known to be close to RSS, said the party was “confident” of getting “sizable” number of seats in case of fresh elections and referred to BJP coming first in 60 of the 70 assembly segments in the Lok Sabha polls.
“A decision on whether to go for fresh polls or try to form a government will be taken by senior leaders of the party after taking views of the MLAs and MPs. It will be a policy decision which will be taken as soon as possible,” Upadhyay told PTI in an interview.
A significant number of party MLAs has already apprised the leadership about their unwillingness to face fresh polls and has been favouring taking a shot at government formation while some of the senior leaders were opposed to it.
The BJP had won 31 seats in the assembly polls in December last year but its number came down to 28 in the 70-member house after three of its legislators Harsh Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Pervesh Verma were elected to Lok Sabha.
President’s rule was imposed in Delhi on February 17 after AAP government resigned. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is likely to send a report to the Centre in a month or two on the political situation. The Union Cabinet is likely to take a decision on whether to extend President’s rule by another six months or go for fresh polls.
Upadhyay, who took charge on Saturday, also trashed AAP’s charges that BJP was trying to “poach” its MLAs to form a government. “I have not approached anybody. I am in touch with my MLAs and not in touch with AAP and Congress MLAs.”
The Delhi BJP chief also said power tariff in the city will be brought down by 30 per cent if his party comes to power. The party, in its manifesto for the assembly polls, had made the promise.
“The party manifesto is the bible. If we have said something in the manifesto, we will have to fulfill it. We will definitely bring down the power rates by 30 per cent,” he said.
The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission is currently in the process of announcing a new tariff for 2014-15 and the regulator had already hinted that the rates may go up.
Asked whether he will press for full statehood to Delhi as promised by the party, Upadhyay said the party and the Centre will do “everything” that is required for betterment of Delhi.
In the campaign for Lok Sabha polls, BJP had promised to declare Delhi a full state if the party came to power, noting that it will help ensure proper coordination between various agencies.
Listing his priorities, Upadhyay said strengthening the party further and taking everybody along will be his immediate
“My immediate priority will be to further strengthen the party. I will try my best to live up to the expectation of people of Delhi and carry forward ideology of the party,” he said.
Asked about infighting in the party, he said all the senior leaders are supporting him and that there will be some problem in every party.
“There is no infighting in BJP. There will be some problem in every party and my priority will be address them. I will take along everybody, be it MPs, ministers or MLAs,” he said.
Upadhyay felt people in Delhi were suffering because of absence of an elected government. “Everybody is suffering because of absence of an elected government.”
Promising to significantly improve Delhi’s face if BJP comes to power, he also appealed to the people to “own the city, take its proper care and be good citizens”.
He identified women security, lack of adequate housing, shortage of water and poor power transmission network and crawling traffic as major challenges facing the city.
Upadhyay also thanked Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for allocating Rs 700 crore to overcome problem of power transmission and water distribution system in Delhi.
Jaitley had proposed Rs 500 crore for reform in the water sector while Rs 200 crore has been set aside for reform in the power sector.